News

New county budget: Alpine Road trail could see $2 million improvement

John Maltbie, the interim San Mateo County manager, is proposing cutting 234 positions in county government for the 2012-13 budget while at the same time proposing to spend $2 million to improve the meandering and controversial trail along Alpine Road between Menlo Park and Portola Valley.

Mr. Maltbie outlined the budget spending priorities in a statement today (May 30). The Alpine Road trail project comes fourth in a list of eight spending priorities. Among them:

■ $44.2 million for the first phase of planning a new 576-bed county jail "to replace the aging and outdated Women's Correctional Center and to relieve chronic overcrowding in men's facilities."

■ $9.7 million for tenant and seismic improvements to Circle Star South, a county-owned building for dispatchers for public safety communications and for the county's emergency operations center.

■ $2.7 million to fund "realignment," part of a 2011 initiative by Gov. Jerry Brown to gradually transfer oversight from the state to the counties of parolees and prisoners convicted of "non-violent, non-serious and non-sex-related" crimes.

■ $3.4 million to pay for Sheriff's Office patrol services to the city of Millbrae. (Portola Valley and Woodside also contract with the Sheriff's Office for patrol services.)

■ $1.5 million to comply with negotiated salary and benefit increases. "The modest ... increase in salary and benefits countywide is mainly for step increases for certain employees and negotiated raises for nurses," the county statement said.

The $1.83 billion budget proposal assumes the passage in the June 5 election of ballot measures T, U and X. If a simple majority of voters approve them, these measures would increase annual revenues by $13 million when rental car, parking and hotel businesses pass the new taxes on to their customers, most of whom are visitors to the county.

Mr. Maltbie's statement did not elaborate on which departments would take the proposed cuts in staffing. A public hearing before the Board of Supervisors is set for 9 a.m. Monday, June 18, in the board chambers in the Hall of Justice at 400 County Center in Redwood City.

Proposed cutbacks include $1.1 million in "efficiency measures" in information technology services, another $1.1 million by eliminating a fire engine company in San Mateo, and $2.7 million in cutbacks at the county medical center.

"By the end of fiscal year 2012-13, the county will have eliminated a net of 766 positions or about a one-sixth of its work force," Mr. Maltbie said. "While there is some improvement in the local economy and stabilizing of revenues the county still faces many financial challenges."

"We can no longer assume that what once worked well will work well in the future," he added. "Help will not be forthcoming from Washington, D.C., or Sacramento. I am convinced that the only way forward is to remake the organization in a way that will provide financial stability and flexibility to meet the uncertainties ahead of us."

Go to this link and click on links under the "Current Budget" heading for more details.

Alpine Road trail

Stanford University had proposed spending about $10 million to redesign the section of Alpine Road trail under consideration in this proposal, but a majority on the Board of Supervisors rejected the plan in December 2011.

A large majority of residents of Stanford Weekend Acres opposed the plan, in part because of the complicated logistics of creating a multi-use 8-foot-wide asphalt trail. A last-minute option to simply repave the existing trail came too late for significant study by the board, but did emerge as a viable alternative for the county.

Comments

Posted by janet, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on May 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Before they pave the trail they need to install drainage otherwise any paving will get washed away/eroded/subsided as before.


Posted by lmggolfer, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I am glad the county supervisors understand the severe safety issues with the current county trail/path and that they intend to move forward in a reasoned and strategic approach to resolve some of the acknowledged safety issues. Thanks to the Supervisors for realizing the risk to individuals on the trail and the county for addressing the risk.


Posted by Brian Tetrud, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

This is a great step forward. It was a sad day when the supervisors shot this down as I would love to be able to bike and walk around our neighborhood safely. I hope the people of Stanford Weekend acres can realize the potential this improved trail has to our community.


Posted by janet, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on May 31, 2012 at 8:56 am

The paving will by from Piers Lane to Ladera where there are few safety problems associated with driveways and cross streets or with vehicles using the path/bike lane for inside overtaking


Posted by question, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 31, 2012 at 11:20 am

Can we also assume that the 2 million will also address the creek situation?

There are still other situations to be resolved, but this will at least address the path from AFTER Stanford Weekend Acres to the new path that comes out of Portola Valley (that will eventually connect to the new path that comes out of Los Altos ... on Stanford money)

One being the county's maintaining what the state has created underneath 280. Repainting lines might help, but this all should have been wrapped into the same project since there is a need for more space. Can anyone answer why there is a need for a nice concrete sidewalk on the north side of Alpine when there is no connecting sidewalk in either direction on Alpine Road?

Drainage? That's will be one of those other situations that local residents might end up having to convince their neighbors to add as a local property fee.

PAINT? That should be easy!

We should ALL still question the logic that says we can't have 35mph along the entire length of Alpine just as Portola Road is 35mph. Absolutely insane to say that a minority breaking a law can determine what the law should be. Odd that even this easy consensus was not reached in the past 10 years. The expense to try to reduce speeds at key points is going to be painful.


Posted by PVrez, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm

@question: not all of alpine is 35 mph through pv - there is a stretch of 40 mph past westridge. and what "creek situation" are you referring to in your post?


Posted by Dave, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I've been trying to find statistics for number of accidents and injuries at the section of the trail to be paved. Does anyone know what they are?


Posted by question, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 31, 2012 at 10:44 pm

If you didn't know that the creek is undercutting Alpine at a couple points, then, you do now.

Exactly why does the speed after Alpine Hills increase to 40 mph after essentially leaving (or entering) Portola Valley? You can do the math to figure out how much time you save. It certainly doesn't help people get back to 35 mph for Westridge and Ladera as they go to 280 or beyond.

The posted speed after Ladera going toward Junipero Serra makes absolutely no sense, but I'll let the residents of Stanford Weekend Acres add their arguments about what living with that speed limit is like.

Our point would be that if the speed within Portola Valley is 35mph, and that is respected by the county, then why can't the road to get out to peaceful tranquil (speed trap) Portola Valley be equally peaceful ..and helpful to the county budget ?

We're still wondering why we can't have the same "crossing guard" signs that are popping up all over the place. Too costly or short sighted and not respecting the voters' wishes? Not the flashing lights... the nice Green Signs that explain the law to cars. At this point, with the county's debt, just tell us how much!


Posted by Dave, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm

question: As a newcomer to the area, I appreciate your prompt, friendly and courteous answer. Now I know what my neighbors are like.


Posted by question, a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:22 am

@Dave. Sorry. This has been going on for over 10 years. The county turned down 10 million to do the job. Some of us are a bit envious of the nice path that PV allowed Stanford to put in. After watching the path degrade (literally) and get covered as Alpine widened, it would be nice to see the county take care of its assets instead of planning a new prison, which I'm sure the contractor assures us will solve the problem of those who love prisons so much they keep smoking marijuana to go back again so we can continue to pay $40K a year to feed, house and watch them. Funny, the schools have to pass bonds with 67% for such luxuries. Put the prison to a bond vote and see what happens!


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